Local Listing Fundamentals


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Presented at last weeks Travel Portland event, geared towards local travel and tourism businesses, like hotels, restaurants, car services, etc. Good basic info with an invaluable and downloadable "business worksheet" that I created myself.

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Local Listing Fundamentals

  1. 1. Getting Your LocalBusiness Found Online February 8, 2013 Presented by: Scott Hendison Search Commander, Inc.
  2. 2. About Me• I started marketing online in 1999, as the owner of a computer repair & software store• I began full time SEO consulting in 2004 with Search Commander, Inc. and founded SEO Automatic, a set of end user & “white label“ Internet Marketing tools & WordPress plugins.• In 2006, I co-founded SEMpdx, an educational non-profit group (SearchFest Feb 22nd)
  3. 3. What we‘ll cover• Consistency & Your Business• More important than Google• Listing at Google• Offers & Reviews• Measuring Traffic
  4. 4. Consistent Information
  5. 5. Business Fact Sheet• Before you go to the internet, put together a consistent message• Establish all of your facts and create style and submission guidelines like the big brands do• From logos to marketing messages, customers (and the search industry) value consistency.
  6. 6. Business Fact Sheet• Getting everything into a single document means there will never be incomplete data.• Include online images, descriptions, history, and key personel bios, profile links, etc.• Everything you might need for your listings should be in one place.
  7. 7. Business Fact Sheet• It all starts with your NAP – your Name, Address and Phone• It should be identical everywhere at every data source on the web.• You‘ll be amazed at the inconsistencies you can find from site to site
  8. 8. NAP - Name• How are you registered? What do the bills say? Using a legal business name is important, and may be worth a $50 dba.• Subtle differences matter – i.e. Tabby‘s Travel vs. Tabbys Travel, etc.• NEVER EVER stuff a key phrase into your name, despite what you see from others.
  9. 9. NAP - Address
  10. 10. NAP - Address• USPS uses all caps• USPS has no consistency on address abreviation• USPS only uses punctuation for biz names• USPS always uses Zip+4
  11. 11. NAP - Phone• Which is better 503- or (503) ?• Most directories use (503)• WWGD? Google uses (503)• So why would you differ?
  12. 12. NAP - Name, Address and Phone• Change your website to match USPS• NAP should be visible from every single page of your site, in the header or the sidebar• It should be text, not just an image of text.• There‘s also a format of adding info that can give you an edge over your competitors...
  13. 13. GEEK ALERT - Schema
  14. 14. What‘s Schema?• Having a text NAP alone is not enough, and it should be properly formatted on your website.• Plain text or older standardized web formats like vCard, or hCard are acceptable but...• The search and data industries have come together in a scheme to standardize things, and make the sharing of information simpler.
  15. 15. What‘s Schema?• Schema.org provides a collection of html tags so webmasters can markup their pages in ways recognized by major search providers.• ‘Search providers‘ means not only G, Y and B, but everything from Global Positioning Systems like TomTom to services like Apple Maps• Schema-Creator.org helps your web designer easily add the correct to your site
  16. 16. What‘s Schema?
  17. 17. What‘s Schema?
  18. 18. END GEEK ALERT
  19. 19. Business Fact Sheet• Complete a Business Fact Sheet in it‘s entirety, skipping nothing.• Take the time to do it right, so that you can delegate future submissions to others.• It‘s the foundation for everything you do.
  20. 20. Business Fact SheetMy example sheet – http://bit.ly/bizsheet
  21. 21. Business Fact Sheet
  22. 22. Business Fact SheetAfter your worksheet is complete...
  23. 23. After your fact sheet is complete...
  24. 24. GetListed.org
  25. 25. Where Should You Start?
  26. 26. Not where you might think!
  27. 27. Infogroup # 1
  28. 28. Infogroup # 1http://ExpressUpdateUSA.com
  29. 29. Infogroup # 1
  30. 30. Localeze # 2
  31. 31. Localeze # 2http://bit.ly/localeze
  32. 32. Localeze # 2
  33. 33. Acxiom # 3
  34. 34. Acxiom # 3http://MyBusinessListingManager.com
  35. 35. Acxiom # 3
  36. 36. Pre-Google Action Items• Check USPS for correct address format• Match Your Website NAP• Use Schema markup• Complete your http://bit.ly/bizsheet• #1 go to Infogroup (ExpressUpdateUSA)• #2 go to Localeze• #3 go to Axciom• THEN verify / claim / edit Google
  37. 37. Google
  38. 38. Google
  39. 39. Google• Changed what they call Places at least 3 times• Google+ was completely reinvented• Many businesses have listings at both• In some cases you can connect the two• Visit both of these URLs while logged in... http://www.google.com/places/ http://www.google.com/+/business/
  40. 40. Google Places
  41. 41. Google Places http://www.google.com/places/You‘ll see EITHER, “add a business“ like this...
  42. 42. Google Places http://www.google.com/places/Or you‘ll see a dashboard like this...
  43. 43. Google Places http://www.google.com/places/• If you see the option to add a business, type in your phone number and proceed
  44. 44. Google Places http://www.google.com/places/If you see a dashboard, hit EDIT...
  45. 45. Google Places http://www.google.com/places/Once you are in the business editing area...• NAP• Description• Fill out everything you can from your biz sheet• Use all ten photo uploads and add (YOUR) videos• Fill out or add all category opportunities• Be careful with Service Areas & Locations Served
  46. 46. Google Placeshttp://www.google.com/places/
  47. 47. Google Places http://www.google.com/places/• Add all 10 photos• 1st one added is main• NEVER stock immages• Use your phone camera• Got Videos? Add links toyour YouTube videos too
  48. 48. Google Placeshttp://www.google.com/places/
  49. 49. Google Places http://www.google.com/places/Two areas to be REALLY careful with... 1. The categories you choose 2. Service area and location setting
  50. 50. Google Places http://www.google.com/places/Categories:• NEVER use a geographic location in the categories, despite what you see from others• Always use as many categories as you can by hitting “Add Another Category“, BUT...• Improper use or “category spamming“ can get your listing suspended from Google.
  51. 51. Google Places http://www.google.com/places/Service Area and Location Settings:
  52. 52. Google Places http://www.google.com/places/• If you ONLY serve customers at their location, you MUST check “Do not show my address...“
  53. 53. Google Places http://www.google.com/places/• If you have a PO Box or other type of maildrop, you MUST check “Do not show my address...“
  54. 54. Google Places http://www.google.com/places/• If you live on a residential street w/ no biz sign, you MUST check “Do not show my address...“
  55. 55. Google Places PageHere is how I screwed my friend Randy...
  56. 56. Google Places Page• His page was bare so I filled out his profile• I added legitimate categories & info• I deleted all old, and added 10 new images (First image added becomes the logo)• He had over 500 monthly impressions, so I did *not* check the box to hide his address.• We received the verification code by mail, punched it in, and two days later...
  57. 57. Google Places
  58. 58. Google Places Page• Every time you edit, moderators will review• No business is safe from scrutiny• Biz name, categories, street view, etc. are all looked at again, no matter how long the listing has been live and receiving traffic.• Any prior “bad acts“ are held against you• This is the most common cause of listing suspension – someone makes changes, and the listing gets disabled for older TOS violations.
  59. 59. Google Places http://bit.ly/googlelocalhelpIf you have a problem, get help by phone!
  60. 60. Google Places http://bit.ly/googlelocalhelpAfter checking the magic combination of boxes
  61. 61. Google Places http://bit.ly/googlelocalhelpAdd your info, and your phone will ring...
  62. 62. Google Places http://bit.ly/googlelocalhelp• You cannot get to the ‘call‘ link any other way• It does not have to be the business line, or even the business owner initiating the call• I‘ve talked to Google reps four times, and each time I‘ve found them to be VERY helpful• The rep for Randys suspension suggested a yard sign until the next Google Street View update!• Listings have returned within 48 hours
  63. 63. Google Places http://www.google.com/places/• After making changes, you will often have to verify ownership again.• Sometimes by phone, sometimes by postcard• Phone verification requires auto-answering to be turned off• Even after verification, changes you‘ve made can take literally weeks to appear
  64. 64. Google Offers
  65. 65. Google Offershttp://www.google.com/places/
  66. 66. Google OffersLess than 10% of businesses use Google offers*• Opportunity to stand out• Costs you nothing (for now)• Reach new customers• Chance to be daring and creative, but put any disclaimer right in the offer* Source: I made it up out of thin air, but I‘d bet it‘s even lower than that...
  67. 67. Google Offershttp://www.google.com/places/
  68. 68. Google Offers
  69. 69. Google Offers
  70. 70. Google Offers
  71. 71. Google Offers
  72. 72. Google Offers
  73. 73. Google Offers
  74. 74. Google Offers
  75. 75. Google Offers
  76. 76. Google Offers• Must not be for specific services*• Must be printable• Must be “real world“ – no online offers• You get to reach new customers• It‘s your chance to be daring and creative, and put a disclaimer right on the coupon• Does Google favor businesses using offers?* Academic aids, adult services, alcohol, gambling, drugs, fireworks, hacking, health care, medicine, intelectual property, regulated goods, tobacco, radar detectors, weapons, or anything else that Google might add in the future.
  77. 77. Google+ Local
  78. 78. Google+ Local http://www.google.com/+/business/• Who Has a Google+ Local Page?• Who has seen or edited both?• Who has merged them together?• Who wonders what they‘ll call it next?
  79. 79. Google Plus Pagehttp://www.google.com/+/business/
  80. 80. Google Plus Pagehttp://www.google.com/+/business/
  81. 81. Google Plus Pagehttp://www.google.com/+/business/
  82. 82. Google Plus Pagehttp://www.google.com/+/business/
  83. 83. Google Plus Pagehttp://www.google.com/+/business/
  84. 84. Google Plus Pagehttp://www.google.com/+/business/
  85. 85. Connecting + Place Pages
  86. 86. Connecting + and Place pages• Connecting / associating the two pages together is possible, but not a full merge yet• Although some have done it successfully, others have seen problems, including lost reviews, and temporarily disapearing listings• Most SEOs say to wait, Google will sort it out
  87. 87. Reviews
  88. 88. Google Reviews• Reviews are critical, although review volume does not seem to be a ranking factor• Never leave fake reviews, or hire services that get you illegitimate reviews• Employees and owners of businesses may not leave reviewsm according to Googles TOS
  89. 89. Google Reviews• Always take time to respond to a customer complaint or a negative review, whether on Google, Yelp or elsewhere.• It‘s helpful to encourage, nag, induce or even incentivize people into leaving reviews through postcards, emails, contests etc.• Kiosks in your business for leaving reviews are no longer a good idea (same IP address)
  90. 90. Google Reviews
  91. 91. Measuring Traffic
  92. 92. Measuring Traffic• Is what you‘re doing worth the effort?• How do you justify the time or money spent?• Where can you get quick snapshots of performance metrics?
  93. 93. Measuring Traffic• Google Places Dashboard• Google Analytics
  94. 94. Google Places Dashboard http://www.google.com/places/
  95. 95. Google Places Dashboard http://www.google.com/places/
  96. 96. Google Places Dashboard http://www.google.com/places/
  97. 97. Google AnalyticsGoogle Analytics can easily show you...• Nothing about traffic from your profiles• There is no easy way to see it at a glance• You CAN... • Use a custom page in your profile • Set up advanced segmenting
  98. 98. Google Analytics• You can create a distinct URL, such as www.yoursite.com/localcontact and list that as the URL people click from profile pages• Or you can apend the URLs with a “tag“ so they are easily tracked in Analytics by creating one at http://bit.ly/urlbuilder• Or you can create an “advanced segment“...
  99. 99. Google AnalyticsWhich might make your head explode... Step by step Advanced Segmenting http://bit.ly/trackinggooglelocal
  100. 100. Summing Up• Create your business profile sheet• Mark up your website with schema data• Claim the major three data providers• Complete Google thoroughly• Try Google Offers while it‘s free• Gather, encourage and respond to reviews• Don‘t sweat the stats – Analytics will come
  101. 101. Thank YouThis presentation may be downloaded now- http://bit.ly/2-8-2013 Contact me... Scott Hendisonscott@searchcommander.com